Sunday Mail (Australia) Article

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Sunday Mail (QLD)
Edition 2 - State - Main CountrySUN 16 NOV 2003, Page 074

Le Bon Voyage
By Ritchie Yorke

If you're hungry like the wolf to see Duran Duran again, here's your chance. RITCHIE YORKE reports

FIRST it was the '60s, then the '70s. Now the '80s -- in all their shoulder-padded, hair-gelled glory -- have clambered aboard rock's retro bandwagon.

After last night's Here and Now extravaganza -- Human League, Kim Wilde, Paul Young et al -- at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, another band from the ``me'' decade will be unrolled at the same venue in just three weeks.

Duran Duran, those darlings of the so-called British New Romantic movement (defined by one commentator as ``a fashion-conscious merger of new wave and disco''), are set to grace the stage.

Few acts so aptly represented the musical mindset of the '80s as these five lads -- vocalist Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, guitarist Andy Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor.

Duran Duran -- named after a character in Roger Vadim's sex-kitten science-fiction flick Barbarella, starring Jane Fonda -- last fronted a Briz crowd at Festival Hall in 1983, where an eager young rock student Bernard Fanning, now Powderfinger frontman, was in the audience.

It was hard to escape the Duran Duran brand through an astounding run of nine Top 10 hits, three platinum albums and heaps of sold-out shows.

If you were around at that time, you could hardly have avoided the provocative strains of Girls On Film, Hungry Like the Wolf, Is There Something I Should Know?, The Reflex, The Wild Boys, Ordinary World and the theme song for the James Bond movie A View to a Kill.

The roots of the Duran Duran reunion go back a couple of years, according to Le Bon, who celebrated his 45th birthday two weeks ago.

``The original members decided to get back together two years ago,'' he says.

``We started writing and recording, writing and recording. Then we started having meetings with record companies and we began to think about doing some shows.

``Last July, we played our first concert in 17 years, in Japan, and it was fantastic.

``Then we went straight over to this little LA venue, The Roxy, and played in front of 400 people. It happened to be the first place we'd ever played on the west coast of America, 20-odd years ago.

``Then we played bigger shows in the States.

``We took the (northern hemisphere) summer off and had a break. I was out there getting my bum brown in Ibiza.''

Le Bon none-too-sheepishly admits conducting our interview from the serenity of his hotel bed, somewhere in New York City.

``I'm lying on my back staring at the ceiling fan,'' he says, keen to continue his comeback tale.

``While in Spain, I had a call that MTV wanted us to come to New York and present somebody with an award.

``I thought that I didn't want to give up my holidays for that.

``But eventually it led to us playing a show in New York and receiving a lifetime achievement award ourselves. That was a bit of a shock.''

Le Bon, married to model Yasmin and the proud father of children aged 14, 12 and 9, is obviously pleased with the widespread acceptance of the Duran Duran reunion.

``We've played some enormous shows since that New York gig.

``We played in London a couple of weeks ago and it went off the scale.

``We've only actually played about 14 shows, but it seems like we've played a huge tour because of the amount of press and publicity that's been created.

``We've got another 18 US shows to perform and then we're headed Down Under for our first concerts in 20 years. You'll get us fresh and red-hot.''

On the Oz tour, the Durans will perform ``four or five'' new tunes which will represent part of the studio album they hope to release by April.

``This band was always a magic combination and chemistry of people. And it is now. It (the reunion) really is working,'' Le Bon says.

* Duran Duran, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, December 8. Bookings: 13 19 31.

THE Sunday Mail has five double passes to see Duran Duran at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on December 8. To be in the draw to win, simply write your name, address and daytime phone number on the back of an envelope and send to: Duran Duran Competition, Locked Bag 8877, GPO Brisbane, Qld 9003. Entries close and drawn on Friday. Winners notified by mail and their names published in The Courier-Mail the following Monday. The prize is valued at $736. For full terms and conditions, see today's Public Notices.